Australian jockey Sam Clipperton believes refreshed galloper E Master has matured enough to win again at Happy Valley after a vast improvement since arriving at Caspar Fownes’ stables.
The five-year-old won in his first start for Fownes earlier this season when Clipperton swooped from near last in September.
He later matched his impressive first-up effort with a fast-finishing second placing at Sha Tin before finishing fourth after being forced to go too far back due to a wide barrier earlier this month.
Drawing barrier seven on Wednesday night in the Class Four Jedburgh Handicap (1,200m), Clipperton hopes to secure a closer spot in running to give his horse the best chance of winning.
“He hasn't had much luck with barriers at Happy Valley, he did win from barrier 11 first-up but last time he also drew barrier 11 and had to go too far back,” he said.
“Barrier seven on Wednesday night, hopefully we can take up a bit better of a position. He’s the kind of horse that doesn’t like to be ridden too aggressively early because he doesn’t finish off as well.
“Hopefully this barrier can allow me to not give away too much ground and stay within striking distance.”
The son of Dreamscape has been luckless with barriers, drawing 11 or worse six times in his 11 starts, while starting from inside barrier four just once.
Despite that and a lack of early speed, Fownes has persisted with the plan to run him at Happy Valley, instead opting to keep him fresh with gaps between runs.
“He does race well at Happy Valley but he is just a consistent horse because he raced well at Sha Tin as well this season when he ran second,” Clipperton said.
“Caspar has got him in good form, he’s been spacing his runs which suits him because he likes to be fresh when he’s racing.
“He did do well under Manfred Man, he won a race and ran some nice ones but Caspar has got him coming on mentally along with being a little bit stronger.”
Clipperton will also ride the John Size-trained Sir Redalot in the Class Three Elgin Handicap (1,200m).
As with E Master, Sir Redalot has had a run of bad luck with barriers but has drawn gate one for this assignment.
“It gives us a chance to take a better position, the last couple of runs he has drawn a bit awkward and gone back,” Clipperton said.
“He has drawn better so it should allow me to take a better spot in running. If a bit of luck falls our way, he should be tough to beat.”